Growing in Grace – How the cross will give you a green thumb (an Easter message)

God did not make death,

and he does not delight in the death of the living.

For he created all things so that they might exist;

the generative forces of the world are wholesome,

and there is no destructive poison in them,

and the dominion of Hades is not on earth.

-Wisdom 1:13-14

When God made the heavens and the earth, he made them good.

What can we make sense of this verse? How can we make sense of the cross? Why must a seed die in order that life may continue?

I have never had a real fondness for gardening. Something about playing with dirt just never appealed to me.  There seems to be a lot of work and toilsome effort in preparing the ground beforehand too. Even after you plant the seed, there is still more toil. You must water the seed daily, ensure it has proper sunlight – not too much, not too little depending on the type of seed and its hardness of shell. Even at harvest time there is still a few more steps before you can enjoy the fruit of your labors. If vegetables, there will be some digging to pull it up and a good washing – maybe a scrubbing too. If a tree, bush or plant, there’s a lifetime of pruning and watering ahead. Oh and then there’s the constant endless weeding!

It’s a wonder anyone could find this type of work relaxing; yet, there are so many who do.

Maybe you already understand where I’m going with all this, or maybe it will take a letter from your homeowners association with a long list of “Landscaping To Dos” for you to have the opportunity to experience understanding.

The point is this: every seed a Gardner plants is good.

Each seed has the potential energy to grow into completeness. Much of that growth will depend on the tireless toil of those placed around it. The generative forces of the world are wholesome; this means the initial energy stored inside the seed and the energy released in Creation to see the seed germinate and grow were all good – that includes the forces of sin.

Simply put, Sin is a force that does not fulfill its potential. It falls short.

When Adam succumbed to the power of deception, his potential as Guardian of Earth fell short. The consequence for his limiting potential was toil. Just like a plant that has been wounded or has started veering off in the wrong direction, God had stored up energy in the seed of Creation that provided the force to correct it. Gardeners often use a stick to adjust a plant’s directions. They stake it into the earth and then bind the tree to it. In the same way, God uses the cross to bind each of his seeds from falling short again and limiting their potential.

The potential for sin in and of itself is not a destructive force. Every seed has a potential for life in the same capacity as it has a potential for death. Some seeds are tougher than others. Some are less resilient. Both are capable of each.

Even a gardener cannot tell which type of seed it grows until it begins to grow. What is within a seed is hidden until its time of fulfillment comes. It will either reach it or it will decay. It’s death is on itself because it chooses it (Deuteronomy 30:19).

This is the essence behind free will. The at once presence of choice between an unlimiting force (grace) and a limiting force (sin) does not mean God created the world to be destroyed. Sin does not become destructive until it is activated.

The scriptures tell us the devil was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). Sin was a force present from the beginning. But it did not become destructive until the germinating force of Adam caused it to be activated; with it also came death.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. – Romans 5:12

In the same way, God created the unlimited potential of many forces including love and grace from the beginning. If love is the causal force through which the entire Creation was made then grace is the causal force through which the entire Creation would be restored, should any limiting force such as sin have its way in tearing it down. The scriptures tell us that Jesus was with God (*who is Love John 4:8) in the beginning. But grace did not become restorative until the germination force of Jesus caused it to be activated – he would have to die to release it, just as Adam had to die to release sin, death is not so much destructive as it is causal; with it came eternal life.

This point alone gives me such great joy! God is and always has been a good, good Father. He thought of everything, from the beginning. He saw our fall from holiness through disobedience and our return in grace through obedience. He always had a way home prepared for those who love Him.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. – John 1:1-5

Adam was commanded to watch over the seeds of Creation to work it and to guard it (Genesis 2:15). Mankind’s purpose was not only to guard and protect but to water and make fertile the soil of the world; so that each of the seeds planted here, at the dawning of Creation, may have their opportunity to grow into their fullest potential. Mankind’s ability to do this was greatly limited when sin was activated. In fact, it became nearly impossible because the limiting power of sin had not just affected Adam’s potential, it began to affect the potential of all Creation. Yet, despite the devil’s attempts to attack the character and goodness of God, the dominion of Hades is not on earth.

Why? Because grace was in the world. Unlike mankind who cannot see the hidden nature of a seed until it is revealed, God, who made the seed, knew what was hidden there from the beginning. And He knew the appointed time when a new man would grow, the last Adam, who would choose obedience over sin’s deception and would cause grace to abound more.

Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. – 1 Corinthians 15:45

Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. – Romans 5:20

Now that grace has entered the world, mankind can fulfill its duty as Guardian of Earth. There are still seeds planted here in the Garden that you and I have been given dominion over. For the kingdom of God has always had dominion over earth, from the beginning. For the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof (Psalm 24:1; 1 Corinthians 10:26).  And all creation waits in eager anticipation for the sons of God to reveal themselves (Romans 8:19), to rule and guard, to water and to grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18); to help see to it that every seed of God that was planted here reaches its fullest potential.

This is why Christ came to die for us, that all men might be saved.

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
 – Romans 5:8

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. – John 8:36

The Easter season is rightly observed in the spring. For what better time is there to reflect on the power of a seed. Some seeds take a while to break through the soil, while others rise and fall so quickly. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow (1 Corinthians 3:7).

Let us be grateful this Easter for the seed that was hidden in darkness and became a great light. Let us consider how at the exact moment the New Adam emerged from the darkness of the grave, we emerged with him, all those who would believe became a new creation, for He has chosen us from the beginning.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. – Ephesians 1:4

Let all who believe in the goodness of God the Father, shout on Easter Sunday “Hallelujah! Worthy is the Lamb!” Grace has entered the world and we are no longer slaves! “Hallelujah!”

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. – 2 Peter 3:17,18

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. – Deuteronomy 30:18,19

Praying you have a blessed and joyful Easter, for it is surely Good News we Celebrate! And, may you have an increase in desire for gardening 😉

Until the Day Dawns and the Shadows Flee,


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